Take Action This Domestic Violence Awareness Month

The tragic and sensationalized murder of Gabby Petito put a national spotlight on the issue of domestic violence last month — Take action to support survivors and keep the conversation going through October and beyond.

The tragic and sensationalized murder of Gabby Petito put a national spotlight on the issue of domestic violence last month — the racial disparities in resources and attention afforded to Black and brown missing persons, the limitations of our country’s domestic violence laws, and the role of the police officers who enforce them.
Yet as the weeks have passed and the search for Petito’s alleged murderer continues, what was becoming a fruitful conversation about abuse and femicide has unsurprisingly stalled just when it should be picking up.
October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month (DVAM). Join advocates and survivors here in New York and across the country in educating yourself and your communities about the dynamics of abuse, and raise awareness about resources available to victims. Here are a few ways you can get involved:

Attend a Virtual Event

Join Sanctuary, fellow service providers, advocates, and supporters during the month of October.

  • October 14,  Moving Through Trauma and Beyond @ 6:00 PM via Zoom – Hosted by Sanctuary’s Survivor Leadership Coalition, this survivor-led panel will explore the connection between mind and body, and how different modalities build pathways towards healing. RSVP here.
  • October 26, Above & Beyond Virtual Pro Bono Achievement Awards and Benefit @ 6:30 PM via Zoom – Join us as we honor members of the legal community who have gone “above and beyond” by providing outstanding pro bono representation and advocacy to survivors of gender violence. RSVP here.
  • October 26, Vicarious Trauma and Resilience: Creating Space to Care for Yourself and Your Clients @ 1:00 PM via PLI – Learn from current and former Sanctuary staff and advocates how to identify vicarious trauma and the steps you and your organizations can take to address it. Register here.

Request a Training

Our staff and survivor leaders are available to lead virtual trainings for community members and groups – including schools, hospitals, law enforcement, courts and judges, faith communities, and cultural groups – who are interested in learning how to identify and support survivors. Learn more.

Wear Purple and Speak Out on Social Media on Thursday, Oct. 21

On NYC Go Purple Day, wear purple as a way to spark conversation and awareness about domestic violence. You can participate by taking a photo of yourself wearing purple. Send your photo to Info@sffny.org and answer the prompt: Today, I wear purple [for/because/to] _________.

We’ll share your photos on Go Purple Day. You can also post on your own social media accounts and tag us on Instagram and Twitter @SFFNY or on Facebook and LinkedIn @sanctuaryforfamilies.

Donate to Sanctuary

Your support ensures our ability to deliver counseling services, legal representation, career-readiness training, and shelter to thousands of immigrant and low-income survivors and families every year.

    MAKE A GIFT   
Take action to keep the conversation about domestic violence going through Domestic Violence Awareness Month and beyond.

An Update on our Services

Learn more about the future of our services in the year ahead.

As New York continues to recover from the pandemic, Sanctuary is preparing for a new era of hybrid service provision — one that will better meet the needs of survivors living across New York’s five boroughs.

When the City went into lockdown in March 2020, we shifted our legal and clinical services and career readiness training to virtual platforms. Our social workers conducted counseling sessions through a telehealth platform, our Economic Empowerment Program shifted training to Zoom, and when the courts resumed hearings our attorneys represented survivors through Skype and Zoom. Of course not all services could be offered virtually. Sanctuary staff kept our five shelters open throughout the pandemic, supporting survivors and ensuring a clean environment for our residents.

Learn more about how we adapted our services here >

The changes we made across our programs revealed new opportunities for our work with adult and child survivors of gender violence. Learn what’s happening in the months ahead and how we plan to integrate our current virtual services with our traditional in-person support.

Office Re-Openings

Manhattan Office – Confidential Location

Our Manhattan Office is open for scheduled appointments Monday through Friday, 9 am – 5 pm, on a case by case basis. Availability for in-person meetings will increase after Labor Day (Monday, September 6th). Please call 212.349.6009 or your Sanctuary point person to schedule an appointment.

Family Justice Centers

While Sanctuary’s shelters and Manhattan Office have remained open throughout the pandemic, New York City’s Family Justice Centers (FJCs) have largely operated virtually. The FJCs have traditionally provided valuable and accessible comprehensive services, particularly to survivors who prefer to drop in rather than make an appointment in advance. The Mayor’s Office to End Domestic and Gender-Based Violence opened the Manhattan FJC last September for limited appointments two days a week. The other FJCs are re-opening on a limited basis as follows:

  • Manhattan FJC – The MFJC ramped up its on-site staffing and appointment capacity in early June. The MFJC is open on Monday and Friday during phase 2 of the reopening plan.
  • Staten Island FJC – The SIFJC opened its doors on Tuesday, June 8th for client appointments only. The SIFJC is open on Tuesday and Thursday during phase 2 of the FJC reopening plan.
  • Queens FJC – The Queens FJC opened its doors on Tuesday, July 6th for appointments only. The QFJC is open on Tuesday and Thursdays during phase 2 of the FJC reopening plan. 
  • Brooklyn FJC- The Brooklyn FJC opened its doors on Wednesday, August 4th for appointments only. The BKFJC will be open on Wednesday and Thursdays during phase 2 of the FJC reopening plan.
  • Bronx FJC – The Bronx FJC will open its doors in August for appointments only on Tuesday and Thursday. The opening date is still to be determined. 

Contact an FJC office here >


The EMPOWER Center remains open for virtual services and scheduled appointments only. To make an appointment, please call 212.238.4906.

Future of our services

Economic Empowerment

Before to the pandemic, Economic Empowerment Program (EEP) participants were expected to attend in-person classes at our confidential Manhattan office daily. Our computer labs, onsite childcare and prepaid MetroCards made this program accessible but for many, the commute added an extra layer of complexity to participants’ busy lives. The program was also especially challenging for those who did not have access to a computer or WiFi at home but wanted extra time to practice the skills they were building. The lock-down led Sanctuary to shift EEP online and provide participants with the necessary technology. Now, with generous support from Mobile Citizen for low-cost internet and long-term funding for laptops in the works, we plan to continue offering EEP as a hybrid of Zoom and in-person classes starting this fall. By providing program participants, and by extension their families, with technology to close the digital divide, greater flexibility, and the community that has always set EEP apart, we believe we can better support survivors on their professional journey.

If you would like to learn more about our Fall 2021 Economic Empowerment Program, please email Info@sffny.org

Legal Representation

New York State courts have reopened with most cases continuing to be heard virtually through Microsoft Teams. The shift to virtual court proceedings has revealed several benefits. Survivors save the time and money they would typically spend on childcare, time off from work, and/or the cost of the commute with the added benefit of not having to see or be near their abusive partner in court. While the future of court proceedings has yet to be determined, we expect virtual hearings to become a permanent option.

Family Court: Already-existing cases are continuing in the borough Family Courts where they started however newly filed cases that require immediate judicial attention can now be filed in a City-wide virtual court.

Immigration Court: Immigration Courts remain open. USCIS interviews and appointments have resumed. Non-detained removal defense cases resumed July 6, 2021.

Order of Protection (Family and Criminal): All Temporary Orders of Protection are continued until the next time the case is back in court.

Pro Bono Support: In April 2021, we launched a web-portal for pro bono attorneys to access sample documents, educational guides and a variety of other materials to help them with pro bono cases. Before the portal, these materials were typically shared on an individual, case-by-case basis by the supervising Sanctuary attorney. The launch of the portal makes it easier for our partners to learn the intricacies of gender violence cases and trauma-informed representation while freeing up time for our attorneys to provide oversight. Active pro bono attorneys can request access here.


Sanctuary counselors will continue to provide counseling sessions to adults, children, and families through a HIPAA compliant telehealth platform with expanded availability for in-person counseling sessions beginning September 6th. As with many of our other services, counselors have found the shift to virtual services enables clients to attend sessions with more regularity because they do not have to worry about the commute or childcare. Virtual therapy, however, comes with several significant challenges including access to adequate technology and privacy, and the difficulty of building trust without the intimacy of in-person interaction. Read the reflections of our Children and Family counselors on virtual counseling here.

Housing and Shelter

Governor Cuomo has extended the moratorium on COVID-related residential and commercial evictions and foreclosure proceedings for those filing a hardship declaration until August 31, 2021. While Sanctuary’s shelters have remained open throughout the pandemic, our staff have continued working with survivors to secure permanent housing and relief through the Emergency Rental Assistance Program.

Volunteer and In-Kind

Sanctuary is continuing to limit the number of individuals entering our confidential Manhattan Office. Please check back for updates and volunteer opportunities in August. If you would like to support survivors with material or in-kind donations, please browse our Amazon Wish List. The items listed are urgently needed by families visiting our offices and staying in our shelters.




Photo by Mel D. Cole Photography

Our Statement on the Atlanta Shootings

Regarding the March 16th shooting in Atlanta, Georgia.

We are heartbroken and angered by the violence in Georgia last night. Reportedly motivated by a “sex addiction” and desire to eliminate the “temptation[s]” he found at Atlanta-area massage parlors, the perpetrator brutally shot and murdered eight people – the majority of whom were Asian women. We will call this for what it is – a racist and misogynistic act of violence. The targeting and murder of these women is a consequence of the hyper-sexualization and objectification of Asian women. It is also reflective of the violence many in the sex trade experience at the hands of people with privilege and power. As advocates in the movement to end gender violence, we stand with survivors and people in the sex trade, as well as with Asian communities in Georgia and across the country who have been reeling from the increase in racial discrimination this year.
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Make Your Birthday Even More Meaningful: Create a Facebook Fundraiser

Survivors of abuse have felt the effects of this pandemic more than most. Invite your friends to support them in honor of your special day.

This year, “donate” your birthday in support of survivors by starting a Facebook Fundraiser. 

Create my facebook fundraiser

The unprecedented public health and economic crisis have disproportionately impacted our clients—low-income survivors of gender violence, more than 90% women of color and immigrants, and their vulnerable children. As New York State’s largest service provider and advocate for victims of abuse, Sanctuary’s services are perhaps more important now than ever before.

With Facebook, you can create a Birthday Fundraiser to get your friends and family involved in our mission to end gender-based violence. It’s an easy and effective way to get the word out about our work and help ensure we continue to be there for families in these times of greater need.

Create a Facebook Fundraiser

Start a fundraiser

  1. Click here to create your own Facebook fundraiser.
  2. Click ‘Select Nonprofit’ and search for Sanctuary for Families. You’ll know it’s us by our logo!
  3. Set your goal and tell your friends why you’re supporting Sanctuary or why supporting survivors of abuse is important to you.
  4. Start sharing your fundraiser and thanking your friends and family for their support! (We’ll make sure to thank them, as well.)

100% of donations made through Facebook go to the nonprofit organization; which means every dollar goes to our cause.

Sanctuary for Families is dedicated to the safety, healing, and self-determination of victims of domestic violence and related forms of gender violence. Through comprehensive services for our clients and their children, and through outreach, education, and advocacy, we strive to create a world in which freedom from gender violence is a basic human right.

From all of us at Sanctuary, thank you for standing with survivors. 

If you have any questions about setting up your Facebook Birthday Fundraiser, please contact Genoveva Eguiguren at geguiguren@sffny.org

Click here to learn about other ways to donate and support our work.